Camp Greene historical marker

Camp Greene (L-25)

World War I training camp operated here on 6,000 acres, 1917-1919. Named for Revolutionary War Gen. Nat'l Greene.

Location: West Morehead Street in Charlotte
County: Mecklenburg
Original Date Cast: 1940

In the summer of 1917, Major General Leonard Wood, charged with selecting sites for new military camps, visited Charlotte as part of a tour of prospective sites in North Carolina. On July 5, 1917 he spoke at the First Presbyterian Church in front of a crowd of 8,000 city residents. Wined and dined by the city’s politicians and elites, Wood chose Charlotte as the site for Camp Greene, a 2,300-acre military training facility for the United States Army.

Named for Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene, the camp was constructed in ninety days between Tuckaseegee Road and West Boulevard. By December nearly 60,000 soldiers had poured into the camp, at first National Guardsmen of the 41st Infantry Division from the northwestern states, followed by regular army troops from what became the 3rd and 4th Infantry Divisions. The 4th, elements of which have fought in every war the United States has waged since World War I, considers Charlotte and Camp Greene its birthplace.

The camp boosted Charlotte’s flagging economy. The city’s population of 45,000 witnessed a major increase in jobs and money as restaurants, shops, and other amusements directed at the soldiers were constructed. Unfortunately, the camp also spread communicable diseases, and the winter of 1917 proved incredibly harsh as hundreds of soldiers and citizens succumbed to pneumonia. The following year, the influenza epidemic struck the camp and city. One Charlottean later commented, “There wasn’t a day when you didn’t see soldiers carrying a casket down Tryon Street towards the Southern railroad station; caskets were stacked to the ceiling at the train depot.”

The men who trained at Camp Greene and deployed to France saw some of the heaviest fighting of the war before the armistice in November 1918. At the war’s end, the camp was dismantled, and it was closed officially in June 1919. Another North Carolina site chosen by Wood, Camp Bragg, had bigger facilities and was chosen to continue operations as a training facility for the United States Army in 1922 as Fort Bragg.

LeGette Blythe and Charles R. Brockmann, Hornet’s Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (1961)
Sarah McCulloch Lemmon, North Carolina’s Role in the First World War (1975)
Charlotte Observer, November 15, 1993; May 30, 1999; and July 8, 2000

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